Succeeding in college might be easier than you think

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Getting involved on campus is the easiest way to get acquainted. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

With the drastic transition from high school to college, incoming students typically find themselves having trouble adjusting to living independently and attending college classes. To ease this adjustment into college, freshmen rely centrally on the advice of returning students and alumni. Gathering advice from upperclassmen may be difficult for students who do not personally know any from their school. It is only fair to provide all incoming freshmen some basic advice about transitioning into college, and more specifically transition to the University of Connecticut.

Getting involved on campus is one of the most helpful pieces of advice given to freshman at UConn. With almost 20,000 students in the Storrs campus alone, it can be intimidating or overwhelming for new students. Naturally, getting involved is the most efficient way to make friends and meet other students with common interests. There is a myriad of ways to get involved on campus besides student organizations, such as playing a sport or getting an on-campus job. Many incoming freshmen are also most reluctant to befriend their roommates or other freshmen in their residence hall. Keeping an open door or doing work in the common room rather than keeping to oneself and staying in the room are good ways to meet new people with similar interests and goals. Getting over-involved, however, can become more destructive than helpful. There is no set ideal level of involvement, but it is important to recognize where extracurricular involvement hinders academic performance.

Building a four-year course plan and choosing a major are some of the most substantial decisions of a student’s college career. However, decisions regarding majors and minors are not set in stone, it is very possible to change majors and still graduate on time. It is very common for students to change majors multiple times, especially within the same school. While it may seem scary to change your major at first, the graduation programs for many majors are very similar, meaning that will not necessarily derail your entire college career to change majors. Planning a specific course path for the next four years is important in order to avoid falling behind, but swaying from said plan to accommodate other interests, time commitments, or even to cope with personal troubles is more beneficial than sticking it for the sake of completing a degree program. For the large amounts of money being spent on college tuition, it is important to graduate with a degree that was most interesting and worthy of pursuing, so if changing career paths is the way to attain this, then it should be done.

Living independently and on a college campus with an overwhelming amount of social activities can often make focusing on academics difficult. Finally attaining the freedom to go out without coming home to worried or angered parents is an exciting aspect of moving into college. Naturally, with more social activities and freedom to attend them, skipping class becomes more common. Freshman year is a typical time to develop a habit of skipping classes, so be aware of this and ensure that such habit does not develop. Skipping class a few times throughout the semester for acceptable reasons such as the fulfillment of other temporary or occasional time commitments will not hurt in the long run, but it is important to know the difference between a good reason and laziness. Prioritizing academics over social activities is crucial to succeeding in college.

While there are many pieces of advice to be given to incoming freshman at UConn, the easiest and most important thing to remember is to simply enjoy yourself. College is a place where you discover who you are without the safety net of parents and past friends. It may be recommended to put academics first, get involved, and meet new people, but the beauty of college is that you get to follow your own path and be your own person. Enjoy the experiences and memories you will make here, as there is nothing quite like the UConn college experience.


Keren Blaunstein is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus.  She can be reached via email at keren.blaunstein@uconn.edu.

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